14 Nov 2013

Steel City Cascade

Do you remember the mobile in the Winter Garden in Sheffield city made of stainless steel wire and sheet and recycled material that I featured recently?
As with any piece of art, especially something so detailed, the more you look the more you see.  I've been drawn to this piece several times when I've been passing through the Winter Garden, which is a space frequently used to exhibit public art. I found more information in a leaflet that had been left for visitors. 
It's called Steel City Cascade and is the result of an art project for the Sheffield Children's Festival 2013 as part of the celebrations to mark the 100 years of the city's stainless steel production. Hundreds of young people across the city made the individual pieces to produce the finished work of art.  

The young designers wanted to show Sheffield as an urban space which also has connections to nature, particularly water, both in past and present times. They based the main frame on the river network since the waterways were a key feature in the establishment of metalworking in the city where there were many waterwheels that powered the grindstones before the invention of stainless steel.   There are five rivers in the area the Don, the Sheaf, the Rivelin, the Loxley and the Porter and their names stand out in blue. Historical buildings that were involved in the cutlery industry feature as well as vocabulary used in the metalworking industry.  A set of figures representing the people of the city were designed and laser cut in stainless steel and other portraits were made in wire and stainless steel strip.

The young people took part in different practical workshops exploring the qualities of stainless steel wire and sheet metal, looking at the designs and patterns that had been used in the creation of original items of cutlery and then worked on their own designs and pieces to make up the whole of the mobile.

I've seen the work on days when there were grey skies and blue and when the sun has lit up one
individual piece or another and you really need to see it in person to appreciate all the detail. It's an interesting and meaningful piece of art when you realise the educational and creative work that went into the project to produce it. I was also fascinated by the way it was hung from such a height in order to display it. You can just see the wires in the above photo.  I would have liked to have been there when that was done!

The Winter Garden is a great space to display artwork and as a venue for different events as well as a place to sit for a while and the exotic plants are rather special too.


  1. Hi, I remember when you went before… That place is like Biltmore (where we go frequently) because it looks different in each season and depending upon the coloring in the sky, etc… Awesome.. I'm so impressed with that place. There's so much talent that is on display there. WOW!!!!! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Marvelous Linda, a really beautiful and creative work of art.

  3. Such a lovely space and what an incredible piece of artwork!

  4. The artwork is fabulous, but that building is amazing! I've never seen a building like that, the sculpture looks very at home there. xx

  5. Such a striking piece of art in an impressive setting. I lover the fact that it is the work of young people. How exciting to have their work so publicly displayed.

  6. it truly is am amazing work of art. i have seen mobiles like this one with forks and spoons, but nothing like this one.. love that arched glass dome to

  7. What an incredibly unique and fascinating piece of art, and great to think how many individuals worked on it.xxxx

  8. Very unique and lovely. One could look at it over and over and probably see something new each time. Very fascinating.

  9. That is a very special mobile with its local influences and connections! Such a wonderful place to display it too:)

  10. The Winter Garden arched roof is an amazing structure on it's own.
    I really would love to see Steel City Cascade in person Linda - I love the concept of remembering the past that made Sheffield what it is today. We always had Sheffield cutlery when I was growing up.
    A most creative project for the Children's Festival of the centenary celebrations!

  11. Hi, I just wanted to let you know that there is a little something on my blog for you xx

  12. Those designs are really fascinating! And the place looks amazing in general...
    You go to the best of places! I think I shall have to follow you around some time!
    Tammy x

  13. What a fascinating exhibition, you have been busy posting recently, just enjoyed a catch up.